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MG6 crashes out of top safety rating

Sub-par: The Chinese-made MG6 scores only four ANCAP stars – fewer than almost all rivals.

Only four ANCAP stars for MG6 small-car, while Trax, 208 and DS5 net maximum score

13 Aug 2013

THE Chinese-made MG6 small car has scored only four stars out of five in the latest round of crash safety ratings released this week.

A rival for the Holden Cruze and Toyota Corolla, the MG6 fell short against the Australasian New Car Assessment Program’s frontal-offset criteria, where its ability to protect the driver and front passenger from serious leg injuries was deemed only marginal.

In addition, the driver’s airbag failed to stop the dummy’s head from making contact with the rim of the steering wheel, chalked up to “insufficient pressure”. In the frontal-offset test, the car’s passenger compartment was deemed to have held its shape well, while head protection on the side pole test was also good.

The four-star rating will not make MG’s renewed plight in Australia any easier, with its Chinese distributor already positioning the car at the pricier end of the market.

“Consumers now expect new cars to have a five-star ANCAP safety rating, so the four-star rating for the MG6 may be a deal-breaker for some when it comes to making their purchasing decision,” said ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh.

The MG6 is priced between $22,990 and $27,990 before on-road costs – more than most small-segment rivals – and is currently sold through a dealer network consisting of one site in Sydney (though, as reported, an expansion is imminent). All versions come with six airbags as standard.

While the car is pitched as more of a mid-sized rival to the Volkswagen Jetta, it’s actually only slightly larger than a Cruze or Nissan Pulsar: both of which are admittedly among the longer small-car offerings out there.

The result may fall short of almost all the MG’s major (and better-known) rivals, but the figure matches the equal best effort for any Chinese car in Australia - Great Wall’s X Series SUV also gets four stars.

It’s the third vehicle tested this year to attain four stars, joining the Fiat Freemont (controversial, as that car gets five stars in Europe) and the 200 Series Toyota LandCruiser (upgraded to five-stars in March). MG’s fellow Chinese brand Foton scored three stars with its Tunland ute in February.

Meantime, several other new releases to the Australian market achieved the now almost-requisite five-star score. These new models include the Holden Trax compact SUV (launching this week), Peugeot 208 light-car and Citroen DS5 premium hatch.

The 208 result applies only the five-door four-cylinder versions – the same applies to Euro NCAP testing – but three-door, three-cylinder versions, and the new three-door GTi hot hatch both get an equal number of airbags (six) and the same active safety technology.

As always, vehicles are graded against five main criteria – their ability to protect from a frontal-offset collision, a side-impact crash the simulates two cars hitting at 90 degrees, a pole test in which the car is smashed sideways into a stationary object, how well they protect pedestrians hit from front-on and how well they prevent occupant whiplash.

“The number of safer, five-star rated cars available to consumers is increasing almost daily - a trend ANCAP obviously wants to see continue to ensure we can save as many lives and injuries as possible on our roads,” said Mr McIntosh.

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